Nora Beqaj, Business Director, The Nest UK, shares some insights into how to develop a start-up whilst maintaining the customer as the focal point and how to leverage data to optimise customer experience performance
The need for a new company to put their customer at the heart of every action they take can’t be overstated enough. It can be all too easy to presume customers will understand and adopt a product or service as initially intended. However, scenarios of use and imagined paths customers will take will not be perfect, and will evolve throughout a product’s lifespan. This is at the core of the start-up journey and the learnings from listening to customers will lead a business towards success.
The phrase “the customer is always right” really does ring true when building a customer obsessed business. Requests should always be treated as genuine. Whether it’s a query for information, technical support or suggestions on how to improve the product, by listening and legitimising their goals, motivations and blockers, start-ups will begin to embed the voice of the customer into their teams and in doing so will create solid, customer led foundations.
For a start-up to develop a successful Customer Experience strategy, they need to define what differentiates themselves from the competition. When it comes to Customer Experience Management, they will face several choices:
- Is quality or the speed of response the priority?
- Do customers prefer a generic reply within the hour, or a neat and personalised answer within a day?
- What type of support will be provided on the channel and at what times?
These questions need to be addressed from the outset. Once the customer relationship offering is defined, a business can compare what they offer with how that offer is performing through customer journey analysis. Remember, Customer Service is not a separate or annexed entity. It is about measuring and analysing the entire journey.
Data is key. As well as detecting insights from customers, data allows companies to check theories and processes related to customer journeys. Growth will be based on the ability to link behavioural data, consumption data, and at times external data such as weather.
When developing and defining what the Customer Experience Management will look like, the key is the focus on the channel strategy. It’s recommended to start small, one or two channels only, focusing efforts on quality of the experience and responses provided from the team. This not only simplifies touchpoints but allows the start-up to more easily group the data.
To store data, a suitable CRM tool needs to be identified and the business needs to be on boarded to use it. The primary objective of a CRM tool should be that it acts as a single source of truth for the business.
Over time, an enriched CRM tool will allow for more potential for analytics usage, AI and further personalisation. We know in the short term, this is generally not a priority for start-ups as they do not produce large amounts of data. However, it is a lever for the development of all types of companies, differentiating them from their competitors.
By making use of behavioural and consumption data, businesses can begin to develop effective self-service journeys for their customer. Self-service is a form of transformation for Customer Support and an incredibly powerful cost saving measure to implement.
Self-service does not mean simply offering Frequently Asked Questions. Encouraging self-service requires understanding where on the journey customers are getting stuck and needing assistance, and then designing solutions to ensure any problem can be solved.
Self-service should be an ever-evolving part of a business’s product. It is a place for experimentation, value creation and a source of cost and time savings. By leveraging the expertise acquired by the Customer Service team and being dedicated to listening and learning from customers, newer and smarter ways of interacting with customers will revolutionise the Customer Experience.
Customer Support and Customer Experience are often used interchangeably yet they are not one in the same. Customer Experience is across the entire product and company. Customer Support is one of many levers companies can use to understand, improve and transform the Customer Experience.
What is most important for start-ups, is focusing on embedding the voice of the customer in the business and then forming and defining the strategy to manage the customer’s relationship to the business. Using data consistently will then bring a start-up closer to their customer and ultimately improve their product and support their growth.